Coca-Cola Energy, McDonald’s, AB InBev: 5 things that mattered this week and why

It’s been a short week after the bank holiday so if you’ve missed any big marketing news we’ve handily rounded it up here – from the first campaign for Coke Energy to AB InBev’s new in-house agency.

Coca-Cola focuses on its differentiator – ‘the taste’ – in first campaign for Energy drink

Coca-Cola has kicked off marketing for its first Coke-branded energy drink with a focus on what makes it different from other energy drinks – that it tastes like Coca-Cola.

The multimillion pound campaign, created by Ogilvy, focuses on “positive energy”. To get that message across, Coca-Cola kicked off the campaign with a flash mob in Piccadilly Circus. There is also a TV ad that features dancers emerging from pulsating red waves that ripple out from a can of the drink, while it has sponsored an “energy boosted” playlist on Spotify.

So far so similar to other energy drinks, which unsurprisingly tend to focus on how they provide drinkers with energy. But Coke clearly sees its point of differentiation in taste, with repeated mentions of it being an energy drink with the “great taste of Coke”.

As a campaign to raise awareness it will no doubt do the job and with sales of energy drinks on the rise despite concerns over their health impacts (Coke does offer a zero sugar version). But it’s hard to feel that there’s not much all that inspiring about this new campaign.

READ MORE: Coca-Cola launches first energy drink under the Coke brand

McDonald’s rejigs marketing to bring it closer to insight and food development

McDonald’s has rejigged its structure to bring insight and food development under the role of new CMO Gareth Helm as it looks to better align its strategy with customer trends.

UK CEO Paul Pomroy believes the shift is necessary so there is a better link between the new products and services McDonald’s launches and what customers actually want. “As a business, we have strong momentum and we will continue to listen and invest in what customers want – choice, value, convenience and doing right by our people,” he says.

McDonald’s in the UK has performed strongly in recent years despite the growing importance among consumers of healthy eating and struggles in its home market, the US. It has done that by overhauling its offering in line with customer expectations – launching services such as mobile ordering and delivery as well as new product lines.

Bringing this all together under the CMO makes perfect sense – no person in the boardroom is better equipped to listen to customers and then act on that insight. And ensuring its brand experience and advertising are in sync can only be beneficial to its business.

READ MORE: McDonald’s unites marketing, food development and insight under new CMO

AB InBev launches in-house agency to produce faster content


To in-house or not to in-house? That is the question. AB InBev has decided to do the latter and is launching its first in-house agency in Europe. Named draftLine, the agency is based out of London and will be in charge of social listening, content creation and digital media buying.

The world’s biggest brewer has already set up draftLines in the US, Mexico, and Columbia, but the European side of the business is starting afresh and at only two months old is doubling its team size every month.

Unsurprisingly, given its infancy, it is currently primarily focused on hiring. But once up and running the team are optimistic about how quickly they can be effective and say they are already in demand.

The rise of social media means brands now need to produce content that is reactionary in real-time. Consumers expect content that is moving at the same pace as culture and draftLine’s  goal is to ensure just that, so AB InBev’s brands can become embedded in key occasions. It will have social listening, content creators and media buying all sat next to each other in the hope of creating a more streamlined pipeline of innovation.

DraftLine’s goal is also to infect the culture within AB InBev, hoping that having an in-house team will also push brands to think more about fast-paced content.

This shouldn’t result in cutting agencies, though, with AB InBev adamant that draftLine serves to complement, not overtake, them.

In many ways it’s not a bad idea. Agencies work on the big pitches and ideas that drive a brand forward while the in-house team works on the smaller, culturally relevant content. Being in-house means minimising endless conference calls and emails, instead allowing the brand and in-house team to simply chat in person.

All this should serve AB InBev well but it must ensure it doesn’t become too insular. Agencies provide fresh eyes and culture can be cruel – one misstep or badly phrased tweet can greatly harm brands.

READ MORE: AB InBev launches in-house agency to help ’embrace creativity’

EDF pushes ‘green agenda’ in new campaign

It’s time to start talking about more than just price. According to EDF Energy, at least.

The energy company is looking to leverage the current conversation around climate change to push its “green agenda” via a new low carbon campaign ‘Generation Electric’.

A few years ago energy companies had a reputation of being “nasty corporates”, according to EDF Energy’s head of brand and marketing, Mel Stanley, but recently their status has improved, allowing the company the opportunity to start talking about things it cares about.

The improvement in perception is signified on YouGov’s BrandIndex, which indicates that in May 2017 EDF had an average score of -4.9 (based on reputation, value, quality and satisfaction of the brand) compared to -0.7 today.

“We had this wonderful property and yet we weren’t doing anything with it. And one of the reasons for that is, in the past, consumers haven’t been interested the green agenda, they’ve only been interested in buying on price,” Stanley told Marketing Week.

“Now, consumers are thinking about how we, as a planet, can start to think more seriously about climate change.”

But sustainability isn’t for everyone and there will always be shoppers who base decisions solely on price. But that doesn’t faze EDF.

“There’s always going to be a portion of the market who will buy on price. If they can get cheap and green, great, but some aren’t even interested in that which is fine. Not everybody is going to buy it,” Stanley says.

It will be interesting to see whether other energy giants, particularly the ‘big six’, follow suit and start plugging their own non-price-focused agendas.

READ MORE: EDF Energy’s new campaign hopes to get people focusing on more than just price.

How brands are leveraging the momentum around women’s football

It’s been a long time coming but women’s football is finally starting to emerge from the shadows of the men’s game and just in time for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

Thanks to a recent string of landmark commercial deals, brands, fans and broadcasters alike have started to see the benefit of getting involved in the women’s game.

You only have to look as far as Barclays to see how the appeal of investing in women’s sport has surged. The bank set the bar high after signing a £10m deal with the newly formed Women’s Super League, marking the largest single investment in British women’s sport by a business.

Visa backed this up by promising to spend the same on marketing the women’s game as it did on the men’s, and Lucozade Sport has also pledged equal advertising spend.

Brands involved seem to have similar idea of what they want to achieve through their respective partnerships: raise the profile of the game, increase confidence among women and help get more girls playing sport.

“My hope is people are increasingly talking about the Women’s World Cup and we’ve created part of that conversation,” Claire Keaveny, head of marketing at Lucozade sport, told Marketing Week.

However, despite efforts, there’s the suggestion other brands – including FIFA’s five other global partners Adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai, Qatar Airways and Wanda – are still investing less in the women’s game.

Not to mention the lacklustre prize package of $4m for the Women’s World Cup compared to $38m for the men. So despite brands doing their best to raise the profile of the game, there will almost always be a long way to go.

READ MORE: Women’s World Cup: How brands are leveraging a ‘culturally relevant’ moment